With Jimmy Garoppolo heading to Las Vegas, the 49ers are signing former first-round pick Sam Darnold to fill Garoppolo's spot on the depth chart. San Francisco has reportedly come to terms with the former Jets and Panthers quarterback on a one-year deal, according to ESPN.
This is a homecoming for Darnold, a California native who played high school football for San Clemente. He stayed in state for college while starring at USC. During his first year as the Trojans's starter, Darnold led USC to a 52-49 win over Penn State in the Rose Bowl.
While he's had his moments, Darnold's NFL career has yet to match his success at the college ranks. He has an overall starting record of 21-34 during his time in New York in Carolina. He best season was back in 2019, when he went 7-6 as a starter while throwing 19 touchdowns against 13 interceptions.
The Darnold experience in New York disintegrated the following season, however, as Gang Green went just 2-10 with Darnold under center. Darnold resurfaced in Carolina in 2021, where he continued to have some highs and even more lows. He went 4-7 as the Panthers' starter that season but went 4-2 as Carolina's quarterback after replacing Baker Mayfield late in the 2022 season. While he completed just 58.5 percent of his throws, Darnold threw twice as many touchdowns (7) than interceptions (3) while helping the Panthers end the year on a positive note.
In San Francisco, Darnold will share a quarterback room with Trey Lance and Brock Purdy, who including the playoffs went a combined 8-2 last season. Lance started the season as the 49ers' starter but suffered a season-ending injury after just two games. Purdy became the 49ers' starter after Garoppolo suffered a season-ending injury after 10 games. The last player selected in last year's draft, Purdy won his first seven starts while helping the 49ers advance to their second consecutive NFC title game.
The 49ers made waves earlier in the day when they signed former Eagles Pro Bowl defensive lineman Javon Hargrave to a four-year, $84 million deal. Hargrave had 11 sacks last year while helping the Eagles reach the Super Bowl.